Happy Birthday, Cormac McCarthy!

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On this day in 1933, Cormac McCarthy was born. The great American novelist moved around a lot, and served in the Air Force for four years. After returning to the University of Tennessee in 1957, he was awarded an Ingram-Merrill Award for creative writing. He has published ten novels and has an eleventh on the way.

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Happy Birthday, Pablo Neruda: Quotes about Life (and Love)

Quotes about Life(and Love)by Pablo Neruda blog header

Born in Chile on July 12, 1904, we recognize Pablo Neruda 112 years later as a political activist and eclectic poet. As a Communist holding several Chilean governmental posts, Neruda faced danger when Radical Party presidential candidate Gabriel González Videla turned against the Communist Party. Continue Reading ›

8 Hauntingly Beautiful J.M. Barrie Quotes

Happy birthday, Sir Barrie!

J.M. Barrie, famous for penning the original novel that inspired Peter Pan, was born on this day in 1860.

To commemorate, we’ve put together some of our favorite Barrie quotes (no, we didn’t just focus on Peter Pan… though we couldn’t omit it entirely). We chose some of our favorite spine-tingling and thought-provoking quotes commenting on life and death. We hope you enjoy!

Also, head over to eNotes to learn more about J.M. Barrie and his works: The Little Minister, The Admirable Crichton, and Peter Pan.

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. J.M. Barrie, The Little Minister

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Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! 4 Ways to Celebrate the Bard


Today is the anniversary of the Bard’s birth. Check out ways to commemorate the day below, complete with cakes, quizzes, quotes and more.

1. Bake a Shakespeare-inspired birthday cake

Introducing… Cakespeare! To celebrate Shakespeare’s b-day, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London invited bakers to design cakes inspired by the Bard’s prose. See a few below, or check out the full gallery here.


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The Old Men and the Sea: 150 Hemingway Look-Alikes Descend on the Florida Keys

If you happened to be in Key West, Florida during the third week of July, you may have found yourself caught in a sudden and strange upsurge in the local population of white-bearded men sporting cable-knit fishermen’s turtlenecks. You may have wondered why said men were often found gathered in the streets—donning Pamplona-red neck-scarves, their barrel-shaped midriffs squeezed into white t-shirts—or in bars wrestling the arms of pitiable strangers. You may have thought to yourself, what is this? A Hemingway convention or something?


The real Hemingway, circa 1957

Why, yes. Yes it is.

Each year throughout the third week of July, Ernest Hemingway enthusiasts, or at least the most genetically gifted of them, flock to the island of Key West for the largest (and presumably manliest) look-alike competition in the world. Beginning on the 21st, Hemingway’s birthday, the contest boasted nearly 150 participants this year. 150 specimens of sport-fishing, bull-running, beard-cultivating machismo.

Amidst the four-day competition, photographer Henry Hargreaves sought to replicate the iconic photograph of “Papa” Hemingway himself, taken in 1957. For this he enlisted the help of several contestants. But Hargreaves knew that the replicas would only work if the subjects delved into the mindset of the author when the original photo was taken, not an easy task given what Hemingway had just gone through at that time in his life. As Hargreaves explains it,

I told each sitter about the original shoot with Karsh: how Hemingway just returned from Africa and a terrible plane crash and was in agony; asked them to contemplate the amazing amount of pain he was in but the equally amazing focus he had to sit quietly for a portrait.

Everything came together to take them to a place of pure expression: being Hemingway, inhabiting him; looking like, even feeling like The Man himself. Just what I was after.

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Big Brother, Where Art Thou?

Oh yes, there you are, with your party hat on.

What with the recent NSA scandal, George Orwell’s dystopian caution that “Big Brother is watching you” has never seemed so relevant. In fact, sales of 1984 skyrocketed just after news broke that the US government was tapping into your average Verizon member’s mundane phone calls. So, how better to celebrate Orwell’s birthday this week than by a subtle nod to the constant gaze of the Party–complete with party hats?

Such was the idea of the Dutch artist duo Thomas Voor’t Hekke and Bas van Oerle (known collectively as “FRONT 404”). Their simple concept was to decorate the ubiquitous security cameras of Utrecht with eye-catching birthday hats.

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